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English 090

 Basic Writing and Reading


Professor: Dr. Lisa A. Kirby                                                     Fall 2005

Office:  Pearsall 177                                                                

Office Hours:    MWF, 1:10-2:10                                            

                        Tuesday, 9:30-1:00 and by appointment

Phone: 252-985-5337







Course Objectives


This course is designed to refine and develop the student’s reading and writing skills as preparation for college work.  Individual instruction is available and each student will complete considerable work in the areas that are the most appropriate to his/her needs. 


We shall be reading and writing extensively both alone and in collaboration with our peers and instructor.  But progress as a writer comes from practice, and in this course you will not simply be delivering enough words and sentences to reach the page limit, nor will you be able to write any of your papers the night before the due date.  You’ll be thinking and taking notes about your subject from the day each paper is assigned.  You will also find that collecting, sorting, and drawing conclusions from a variety of sources for your final draft are integral parts of the writing process.  This class is intended to make you a better, more confident writer for the rest of your writing career.


Course Requirements



Writing Assignments

Whether they take the form of in-class or out-of-class writings, I expect you to put forth effort and take each writing assignment seriously. We will be using the writing process in this class, which means that each essay will be taken through the prewriting, drafting, revising, and editing stages. You must turn in all stages of your writing in order to receive credit for an assignment. To stay organized, you should purchase a paper folder for this class. All essays, along with all stages of writing, will be turned in with this folder.


Paper Format

All of your major papers should be typed, double spaced, and in 12 pt. font. You should turn in all of your papers in a folder to keep your work organized. For all assignments, I will require that you turn in your prewriting, rough drafts, peer review, final draft, Works Cited page, and any required sources. Without these materials, I will not grade your paper.


Most informal or in-class writings can be hand written, although it is best to type your work whenever possible. Please ensure that your handwriting is neat as neither your peers nor I can fairly assess illegible work.  Handwritten work, whether written in class or out, should be submitted on lined paper and you should skip every other line. All work must be dated and must state your name, course name and section, and my name.



Towards the end of the semester, all students in English 090 will be required to present a brief presentation to the class. This presentation will be tied to one of your final writing assignments, and all students must complete the presentation in order to receive credit for the course. Even if you have passed the exit essay, you must still complete this presentation. More information on this assignment will follow as we near the end of the semester.



As part of our course requirements, you will be expected to meet with me for individual conferences. We will meet together several times during the semester. Your attendance at these conferences is a required component of this course, and you will receive a class absence for each missed conference.


Course Policies and Procedures


Students with Disabilities

North Carolina Wesleyan College complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act and with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 regarding students with disabilities. The College shall provide reasonable accommodations for each eligible student who a) has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity, b) has a record or history of such an impairment, or c) is regarded as having such an impairment. Eligible students should let me know as soon as possible so that we can make proper accommodations for this class. Please also refer to page 82 of your College Catalog for information on the support services that Wesleyan offers.


The Writing Lab

The Writing Lab is an academic support service available to Wesleyan students. Writing specialists and peer tutors are available for one-on-one tutorials in Pearsall 186. The Lab also offers an Online Writing Lab (OWL) that allows students to e-mail questions about their writing, submit drafts online for review, or access handouts on various writing-related topics. Please call (252) 985-5325 or visit the Lab’s Web site at for more information. The Lab is a wonderful resource for all Wesleyan students, and I strongly encourage you to visit the Lab for additional help with your writing.



Each student is expected to attend class regularly and participate in class activities. Because we will be doing so much in-class discussion of your writing, your attendance is crucial. If you are going to be absent, it is your responsibility to contact and discuss with me any work you may have missed, even if the absence is excused. If you are going to be absent on the day an assignment is due, the assignment must be turned in to me prior to class time on the day of the absence or it will be considered late. You must let me know if you have a legitimate reason for missing class such as participation in college-related activities or athletics. If you are an athlete, it is your responsibility to get in touch with me prior to being absent from class regardless of whether I receive e-mails from coaches or the athletic department. You are allowed three unexcused absences.  With the fourth unexcused absence, you will be dropped from the course with a grade of ‘F.’ Generally there will be no exceptions to this policy, and any requests for exceptions must be made before a fourth absence is incurred. Students are responsible for all work missed due to absences. Please also be aware that three tardies or leaving class early three times counts as one absence. While I expect you to be in class and keep up with your assignments, I will not accept notes from parents, doctors, or the like as excuses. The only excused absences are those sanctioned by the College.


Late work

All of your work must be turned in at the beginning of class time on the day it is due. This means that you should not put off printing your paper until five minutes before class time, nor should you show up late to class because you were working on your paper. If you do not have your paper at the beginning of class time, it is late. If you must turn in a paper late for whatever reason, please contact me and inform me of the reason before the paper is actually due. Otherwise, no late work will be accepted.


Class Participation and Draft Workshops

You should arrive to class prepared to discuss that day’s reading and writing assignments and participate in any assigned group work. While from time to time I may volunteer you for certain questions, I rely on you to voice your opinions and participate in class discussion.


Additionally, before submitting final drafts of some of your major papers, you will work in small groups evaluating each other’s work in peer review workshops.  How seriously you evaluate, how specific your comments, and how helpful you are will be evaluated by your peers as well as me.


Computer Lab

On selected Fridays during the semester, we will meet in the computer lab in PC 189. I will let you know in advance which days you should come to the lab. This will allow us time to work on our writing in a computerized environment. This time is meant as “work time.” That means that there should be no surfing the Web, instant messaging, or e-mailing during this time. Instead, this hour each will be used to work on your out-of-class essays or for activities that I assign during class. If this time is not used wisely, we will no longer go to the computer lab.



There is no final letter grade for this class; this is a pass/fail class. However, it is essential that you complete all of the assigned reading and writing to be successful in this class. Failure to complete all assigned homework, correctly prepare and format assignments, adequately revise papers, or attend tutoring (if required) will result in the student losing his/her eligibility to write the final (exit) essay. Remember that you must earn the right to take this exit essay; you can easily earn that privilege by attending class regularly, completing all of your assignments in a timely fashion, working hard on your writing and reading, and being an engaged member of the class.


Exit essays are read and graded by the English faculty; their assessment of your writing skills will determine your eligibility to enter English 111 in the spring semester.  You will be given two opportunities to write a successful essay; these essays will be written during the final three weeks of class. Students who have not completed all required course work will not be permitted to write the exit essay.



Plagiarism, or academic dishonesty, is the appropriation, theft, purchase, or obtaining by any means another’s work, and the unacknowledged submission or incorporation of that work as one’s own offered for credit. Appropriation includes the quoting or paraphrasing of another's work without giving credit therefore. Please refer to pages 74-75 of your North Carolina Wesleyan College Catalog for the official university policy on plagiarism. There is a zero tolerance policy on plagiarism in this classroom; if you are found guilty, not only will you be penalized in this course, but you will also be reported to the Dean of Academic Affairs.


Class Environment

Our class will be most successful if we work in an environment of respect, cooperation, and good citizenship. In addition to completing your assignments in a timely manner, we can foster a successful classroom environment if we all observe the following policies:

·        Cell phones and pagers should be turned off and out of sight at all times;

·        We will be discussing many issues as a class, so I expect and encourage students to speak during class time. This is not a lecture-style course, and it will be much more interesting if students participate fully. However, when side conversations take place among individual students, this can prove very disruptive. Please make certain that you give your peers and me the proper respect by refraining from individual conversations during class time;

·        You should arrive prepared with your books, paper, and writing instrument on a daily basis;

·        Please arrive on time to class and remain for the entire class period unless you have made prior arrangements with me;

·        Remember that this is an academic environment and proper language and behavior are expected. We are all adults and while mature language is appropriate in certain circumstances, offensive language and profanity will not be tolerated;

·        You must complete all of the reading assignments for this class. Reading comprehension and critical thinking are essential parts of making sure you are ready for the exit essay. If you come to class without having completed that day’s reading assignment, I have no way of evaluating your progress;

·        The time you spend in this classroom is reserved for this course. Please do not spend time studying for other classes or reading other materials; and

·        Please respect your peers’ views, comments, and ideas. You do not have to agree with all opinions expressed, but you should express any dissent in a respectful manner.


Observing these policies will ensure that we have the best semester possible. I retain the right to count you absent should you engage in any of the above behaviors. Remember there is more to attending class than merely being physically present.


Course Schedule


Week 1: Unit 1—Introduction

Wednesday, August 24                                 Discuss syllabus

                                                                     Homework:      Read Doors, pages 3-11


Friday, August 26                                          In-class writing #1

                                                                     Homework:      Read Doors, pages 12-24

                                                                                                Informal writing


Week 2: Unit 1—The Writing Process

Monday, August 29                                       Return in-class writings

                                                                     Discuss the writing process

                                             Discuss reading                                               

                     Homework:       Read Doors, pages 31-33


Wednesday, August 31                                  Discuss reading

                                                                      Discuss prewriting techniques

                                                                      Hand out guidelines for Essay #1

                                                                      Begin work on Essay #1

                                                                      Homework:      Work on Essay #1


Friday, September 2                                       Work on Essay #1

(meet in computer lab)                                     Homework:      Finish final draft of Essay #1


Week 3: Unit 1—Reading Strategies

Monday, September 5                                     No class—Labor Day Holiday    


Wednesday, September 7                                Essay #1 due!

Discuss plagiarism

In-class group activity

Sign up for Conference #1

Homework:       Read Doors, pages 126-28 and 139-49


Friday, September 9                                        Discuss readings

(meet in computer lab)                                      Discuss thesis statements

Homework:      Prepare for conference

                        Rewrite thesis statement           


Week 4: Unit 1—Conferences

Monday, September 12                                    No class—conferences

                                                                        Homework:      Read Doors, pages 159-63


Wednesday, September 14                               Discuss reading

                                                                        Discuss in-class writing techniques

                                                                        Homework:      Prepare for in-class writing


Friday, September 16                                       In-class writing #2 

                                                                        Homework:      Read Doors, pages 203-213


Week 5: Unit 2—Reading Comprehension

Monday, September 19                                   Discuss reading

                                                                        Homework:      Read Doors, pages 235-238


Wednesday, September 21                              Discuss reading

                                                                        Hand out guidelines for Essay #2    

                                                                        Prewriting for Essay #2

                                                                        Homework:        Work on rough draft of Essay #2


Friday, September 23                                       TBA

                                                                        Homework:      Finish rough draft of Essay #2


Week 6:  Unit 2--Revision

Monday, September 26                                   Rough draft workshop—Essay #2


Wednesday, September 28                              Essay #2 due!

                                                                        Discuss revision techniques

                                                                        Homework:      Read Doors, pages 259-69


Friday, September 30                                       Revision activity

(meet in computer lab)                                      Discuss reading

                                                                        Homework:      Finish revision activity

                                                                                                Read Doors, pages 276-80,

and 290-91


Week 7: Unit 3—Topics and Main Ideas

Monday, October 3                                         Discuss revisions

                                                                        Discuss readings

                                                                        Sign up for conferences

                                                                        Homework:      Prepare for in-class writing


Wednesday, October 5                                    In-class writing #3

                                                                        Homework:      Read Doors, pages 317-28


Friday, October 7                                            Discuss readings

(meet in computer lab)                                      Hand out guidelines for Essay #3

                                                                        Work on Essay #3

                                                Homework:      Prepare for conference

                                                                        Work on rough draft of Essay #3


Week 8: Unit 3—Supporting Details

Monday, October 10                                       No class—conferences 

                                                                        Homework:      Finish rough draft of Essay #3


Wednesday, October 12                                  Discuss paragraph development

                                                                        In-class activity                                     


Friday, October 14                                           No class—Fall Break

                                                                        Homework:      Read Doors, pages 373-383          


Week 9: Unit 3—Development

Monday, October 17                                       Essay #3 due!

Discuss readings              

Homework:      Read Doors, pages 384-395


Wednesday, October 19                                  Discuss reading

                                                                        Homework:      Read Doors, pages 401-06


Friday, October 21                                          Discuss reading

(meet in computer lab)                                      Revision activity

                                                                        Homework:      Finish revision activity


Week 10: Unit 4—Critical Thinking

Monday, October 24                                        In-class writing #4

                                                                        Homework:      Read Doors, pages 517-34



Wednesday, October 26                                  Discuss reading

                                                                        Hand out guidelines for Essay #4

                                                                        Prewriting for Essay #4            

                                                                        Homework:      Finish prewriting

                                                                                                Read Doors, pages 537-40


Friday, October 28                                          Work on Essay #4

(meet in computer lab)                                      Discuss argument

Homework:      Prepare for conference


Week 11: Unit 4—Argumentation

Monday, October 31                                       No class—conferences

                                                                        Homework:      Finish rough draft of Essay #4


Wednesday, November 2                                 Rough draft workshop—Essay #4

                                                                        Homework:      Finish Essay #4

                                                                                                Read Doors, pages 506-07


Friday, November 4                                         Essay #4 due!

                                                                        Discuss reading

Homework:      Read Doors, pages 447-67


Week 12: Unit 4—Revising Arguments 

Monday, November 7                                      Discuss reading

                                                                        Hand out guidelines on Essay #5 and


                                                                        Work on presentations

                                                                        Homework:      Read Doors, pages 517-34


Wednesday, November 9                                 Discuss readings

                                                                        Homework:      Work on Essay #5 and presentation


Friday, November 11                                       In-class writing #5

                                    Homework:       Work on Essay #5 and presentation


Week 13: Unit 5—Presentations

Monday, November 14                                    Presentations

                                                                        Homework:      Work on Essay #5 and presentation


Wednesday, November 16                              Presentations

                                                                        Homework:      Work on Essay #5 and presentation


Friday, November 18                                       Presentations

                                                                        Homework:      Prepare for conference


Week 14: Unit 5—Thanksgiving Break

Monday, November 21                                    No class—conferences 

                                                                        Homework:      Prepare for conference


Wednesday, November 23                               No class—Thanksgiving Holiday


Friday, November 25                                       No class—Thanksgiving Holiday


Week 15: Unit 5—Conferences

Monday, November 28                                    No class—conferences


Wednesday, November 30                               No class—conferences

Last day of classes


Friday, December 2                                         No class—Final Exams


Week 16: Finals Week

Monday, December 5- Thursday, December 8